News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
18th May 2010

Schools in the news

posted in Education, In the News |

We learned today that a public service announcement (PSA) video produced by students at Lowell High School has been selected for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Teen Impaired Driving PSA Award. This recognition will be announced on Fox News at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. More details and a link to the PSA will follow (if I can get it). 

Other local school news includes a letter in today’s Sun from Superintendent Chris Scott regarding an anticipated shortfall in next year’s school budget, and the district’s attempt to cut costs yet again while maintaining programming and staffing to ensure a decent education for our children. The superintendent will present her budget to the school committee at its meeting tomorrow night, and budget hearings will be held May 27 and June 1. Given the degree of cuts required if the shortfall reaches $6-$9 million as some fear, the only responsible thing to do is fight for the resources to adequately educate our children, so where is the outcry from the community?

Also in the news, today’s Boston Globe reports that Rhode Island teachers due to lose their jobs at Central Falls High School have reached a tentative agreement with school administrators to reform the school together, including longer hours, more professional development, and new accountability measures. On the same page, columnist Kevin Cullen writes about Boston’s own efforts at turning around an underperforming school (Burke High School in Dorchester) from the students’ perspective. Cullen and the students he gives voice make a valid point that blaming teachers and staff for poor student achievement is fundamentally unfair when you consider the tremendous role other factors play in learning, such as poverty, student apathy, and bad parenting. As one student notes, “…they can’t reassign the parents, so they reassign the teachers.” These, as well as limited English proficiency, are just some of the issues most urban districts face, and yet, there are schools where students make tremendous gains in learning despite the socio-economic challenges. We have those schools in Lowell. We also have a Level IV (underperforming) school. So if the student demographics are similar, what’s the difference between those schools? We need to identify and model those best practices, and yes, hold everyone accountable to student learning, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be so punitive to one group.

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